Acupuncture has potential in managing axial stiffness in steeplechase racehorses: a blinded prospective randomized preliminary study

Antoinette Terlinden CIRALE, BPLC, INRAE, Ecole nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort, Maisons-Alfort, France

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 DVM
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Manon Szymkowiak FAMILYVETS Herbignac, Herbignac, France

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 DVM
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Eva Jonville La Trinité de Réville, France

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Chloé Hatrisse University of Lyon, Lyon, France
Gustave Eiffel University, Lyon, France
Claude Bernard University Lyon 1, Lyon, France
CWD-VetLab, Ecole nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort, Maisons-Alfort, France
Laboratoire de recherche en imagerie et orthopédie, Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada

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Emeline De Azevedo CIRALE, BPLC, INRAE, Ecole nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort, Maisons-Alfort, France

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Virginie Coudry CIRALE, BPLC, INRAE, Ecole nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort, Maisons-Alfort, France

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Jean-Marie Denoix CIRALE, BPLC, INRAE, Ecole nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort, Maisons-Alfort, France

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Fanny Pilot-Storck Ecole nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort, Maisons-Alfort, France
Paris-East Créteil University, Créteil, France

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Loïc Desquilbet Ecole nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort, Maisons-Alfort, France
Paris-East Créteil University, Créteil, France

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Lélia Bertoni CIRALE, BPLC, INRAE, Ecole nationale vétérinaire d’Alfort, Maisons-Alfort, France

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Evaluate the short-term effects of acupuncture on the dynamic manifestations of axial stiffness in steeplechase racehorses.

ANIMALS

12 steeplechase racehorses presenting signs of axial stiffness during training.

METHODS

Horses were randomly assigned to either an acupuncture treatment by an experienced certified acupuncturist (n = 6) or no treatment as negative controls (6). The horses’ locomotion was evaluated during training before treatment (D0) and 7 (D7) and 14 (D14) days after by their rider and trainer through a questionnaire. Additionally, the improvement of their dorsal flexibility 2 days after treatment was evaluated subjectively at the trot, free jumping at the canter was evaluated by expert clinicians, and free jumping at the trot was evaluated objectively via inertial measurement units.

RESULTS

Significantly more horses were improved on D7 and D14 in the acupuncture group (6/6) compared with the control group (1/5; P =.01) according to the scores set by the trainer and riders. Subjective evaluation of the dorsal flexibility also revealed a significant improvement (P = .04) for horses receiving the acupuncture treatment (median improvement score, 0.50 [reference range, 0.5 to 0.9]) compared with control horses (–0.25 [reference range, –0.5 to 0]).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Acupuncture may be an interesting nondoping strategy to improve clinical signs of axial stiffness and performance on steeplechase racehorses.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Evaluate the short-term effects of acupuncture on the dynamic manifestations of axial stiffness in steeplechase racehorses.

ANIMALS

12 steeplechase racehorses presenting signs of axial stiffness during training.

METHODS

Horses were randomly assigned to either an acupuncture treatment by an experienced certified acupuncturist (n = 6) or no treatment as negative controls (6). The horses’ locomotion was evaluated during training before treatment (D0) and 7 (D7) and 14 (D14) days after by their rider and trainer through a questionnaire. Additionally, the improvement of their dorsal flexibility 2 days after treatment was evaluated subjectively at the trot, free jumping at the canter was evaluated by expert clinicians, and free jumping at the trot was evaluated objectively via inertial measurement units.

RESULTS

Significantly more horses were improved on D7 and D14 in the acupuncture group (6/6) compared with the control group (1/5; P =.01) according to the scores set by the trainer and riders. Subjective evaluation of the dorsal flexibility also revealed a significant improvement (P = .04) for horses receiving the acupuncture treatment (median improvement score, 0.50 [reference range, 0.5 to 0.9]) compared with control horses (–0.25 [reference range, –0.5 to 0]).

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Acupuncture may be an interesting nondoping strategy to improve clinical signs of axial stiffness and performance on steeplechase racehorses.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Figure S1 (PDF 47 KB)
    • Supplementary Table S1 (PDF 17 KB)
    • Supplementary Table S2 (PDF 74 KB)
    • Supplementary Table S3 (PDF 36 KB)
    • Supplementary Table S4 (PDF 35 KB)
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